Poetry TX Cats End up at Popcorn Park Zoo
LACEY — What do a lion with bad teeth, a tailless tiger and five cougars have in common? They are all very large cats and the newest residents of Popcorn Park Zoo.
Seven big cats were relocated to the zoo two weeks ago from a Texas farm with a neglectful owner, according to officials for the Associated Humane Societies who operate Popcorn Park Zoo.
Some of the animals lived in small stalls on the farm and were imprisoned in outdoor 4 by 4 feet cages.
The animals were discovered by the owner at a nearby exotic sanctuary and eventually rescued by the Associated Humane Societies.
John Bergmann, general manager of Popcorn Park Zoo, said one of the zoo’s new residents is a male African lion named Porthos, who has severe dental problems.
Bergmann said another of the zoo’s new big cats is a Bengal tiger originally from India named Taj, who had lived her life in squalor.
“We were told that a raccoon bit off her tail when she was a juvenile. She is still becoming used to her pen,” he said.
In addition to Porthos and Taj, four female cougars and one male cougar are now receiving special care at the zoo.
Bergmann said that the staff will learn more about the new arrivals as time goes on.
“They will never want for clean water, proper diet, a clean den and big yards to play in,” he said.
The zoo learned of the wild cats from Vicky Keahey, the owner of InSync Exotics, an exotic cat sanctuary in Texas. She said there were 20 big cats about 40 miles from her sanctuary whose owner had died.
Their neglect had gone on long before the farm owner’s death, according to Bergmann, who said the animals were living in horse stalls that appeared not to have been cleaned in years.
Water was given to the animals in dirty buckets through a fence and their food looked as if it was just thrown in to the stalls.
InSync staff cared for the animals until they were able to be transported to Popcorn Park. Once zoo staff learned of the situation, room was made for the cats at Popcorn Park. They were transported in a climate controlled tractor trailer.
Bergmann said all of the cats were examined, had blood tests completed and were vaccinated.
Bergmann also said Porthos will soon be introduced to Nyla the zoo’s other lion. Taj is the zoo’s only tiger and Sandy the cougar will be joining the other five cougars.
Bob Vosseller: 732-557-5623; email@example.com
IF YOU GO:The Associated Humane Societies was founded in 1906, and is the largest animal sheltering system in the state. The organization has three shelters located in Lacey, Newark, and Tinton Falls .
The Popcorn Park Zoo was established in 1977, and serves as a sanctuary for abandoned, injured, ill, exploited, abused or elderly wildlife, exotic and farm animals, and birds.
The society is a not-for-profit organization, and Popcorn Park is a federally licensed zoo. The society serves thousands of animals and is financed entirely through donation.
The zoo’s major fundraiser is a gift auction held each October. There are several ways to donate to the zoo through specific programs. For ways to give to Popcorn Park Zoo, visit the website atahscares.org or call 609-693-1900.
The zoo’s hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The zoo is located off Humane Way and Lacey Road in the Bamber Lake section of Lacey.
Asbury Park Press
August 12, 2011
Bob Vosseller | Staff Writer